I'm running Ubuntu 12.04.*

I'd like to know what point release of 12.04 I'm running (the star). I read the information about LTSEnablementStack and it seems 12.04 has point releases 12.04.0, 12.04.1, 12.04.2, 12.04.3, 12.04.4, 12.04.5 which might differ as much as running a different kernel and xorg server.

I wanted to find out my exact version and the problem is that I get contradictory information.

using lsb_release -a yields 12.04.5

root@box:~# lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS
Release:    12.04
Codename:   precise

looking at cat /etc/apt/sources.list says 12.04.1

root@box:~# cat /etc/apt/sources.list | grep cdrom
# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS _Precise Pangolin_ - Release i386 (20120817.3)]/ precise main restricted

checking the creation date of my root filesystem (to confirm my memmory that I installed that box somewhere in September 2012 (long before 12.04.5) indicates 12.04.1

root@box:~# dumpe2fs /dev/mapper/root    -h  | grep created
Filesystem created:       Fri Sep 21 12:56:19 2012

the GUI is of no help at all and says 12.04 only: ubuntu version shown

So what point release am I running and why do I see this contradictory information? My kernel is a 3.2 version, which is yet not helping my understanding of the Hardware Enablement Stack Policies and Procedures. Can it be that I had 12.04.1 and accidently changed to 12.04.5? (is this even possible?, yet why do I still run a 3.2 kernel even after apt-get dist-upgrade?) Or is only lsb_release -a broken and I should file a bug?

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of What are point releases in LTS versions? – Braiam Jan 20 '16 at 13:00
  • 1
    @Braiam. not excatly, I asked about the specific problem of mine. Normaly it is desired to ask very specific and hence answerable questions. The suggested non-duplicate question is simply more general and of not much merit to post afterwards. Instead of duplicate one might better call it related – humanityANDpeace Jan 20 '16 at 13:07
  • 3
    @Braiam No I wanted to know which version I have. Anyway with the answers provided and also where the iformation comes from, I know now that the question you suggest is indeed related. It is not a duplicate. The merit of this question is that the problem is approached practically from the specific question: which version do I have? I think that if not done by askubunut/SE itself, you managed to show this relatedness of the questions: well done :) – humanityANDpeace Jan 20 '16 at 13:18
  • 1
    I am not married to the question. I find it a little strange you are sort of pushy with the point releases question and I think the way I asked the question is more crisp to somebody looking for an answer a similar problem as I did. Sort of 2 is the result of either "1+1" and "40/20" and "2*1". Even though the same result the way to it makes each "question" meritfully different. – humanityANDpeace Jan 20 '16 at 13:25
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of How can I find the version of Ubuntu that is installed? – bain Jan 20 '16 at 13:36

Let's break-down your issue into two parts:

  1. Your current Ubuntu version from the output of /etc/apt/sources.list

  2. Your current Ubuntu version from the output of everything else.

Now, to the explanation:

  1. From Ubuntu.

    The only lines that gets upgraded in that file are the lines that starts with deb, deb-src, #deb or #deb-src because

    Ubuntu uses apt for package management. Apt stores a list of repositories or software channels in the file.

    If there are any other lines in the file that are uncommented and doesn't start with deb, etc. then the command sudo apt-get update will produce errors.

    But the main part relevant to you is that the file doesn't get updated as a whole but the lines in them that are stated above. So, the file is basically the same one as the time when you installed Ubuntu and to make it more clear you installed Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS to start with and upgraded your way to 12.04.5 LTS.

  2. Now, for the second part,

    From lsb-release --help:

    -v, --version      show LSB modules this system supports
    -u, --upstream     show upstream LSB data
    -i, --id           show distributor ID
    -d, --description  show description of this distribution
    -r, --release      show release number of this distribution
    -c, --codename     show code name of this distribution
    -a, --all          show all of the above information

    i.e., the command lsb_release -a gives you the exact information as to what your current version of Ubuntu is.

Also about your other question regarding kernels, the latest kernel that is available for Precise is 3.13.*. So, everything's fine with your Ubuntu. But on another note if you want to install the more latest kernels on your current version then you might want to follow this YouTube.

EDIT: As Pilot6 pointed out and from Ubuntu Wiki in 12.04.x Ubuntu Kernel Support section:

It seems that 12.04.5 has kernel version 3.13.*.


You are using Ubuntu 12.04.5. It is updated 12.04 release.

But HWE Stack including kernels and X.org is not updated automatically.

I see no problems or bugs that can be reported.

  • Really? wow - since I installed Sept 2012 (long before 12.04.5) was available I am amazed how that came about. Can I have installed a system via a 12.04.1 cdrom and end up with a 12.04.5? – humanityANDpeace Jan 20 '16 at 12:10
  • 5
    Point releases are not real releases. You installed routine updates and got it. It is normal. – Pilot6 Jan 20 '16 at 12:12

I had the same query when I had updated some systems installed with the 14.04.1 installation medium, that had been updated to 14.04.3 without pushing the kernel onto one of the HWE releases.

The thing that made sense of it in my mind is that the installation medium (CD release) for 12.04.5 will use the Trusty HWE kernel (3.13.xx) by default. 12.04.5 as a release, just refers to having all of your packages upgraded to a certain point.

The kernel version is not explicitly tied to the point release.

So it's fine to have a 12.04.5 release of Ubuntu, which uses the original kernel for 12.04. Having a look at the Kernel Support Schedule is also informative, and helped my comprehension greatly.

  • thanks for your answer."The kernel version is not explicitly tied to the point release" Yes and No. Yes Of course as you lay out 12.04.5 can be either 3.2.x or 3.13.x kernel depending if you installed a 12.04.0 and updated not going on the HWE Stack). Or alternatively if you did 12.04.0 and then opted to the HWE Stack and similarly hava a 3.13.x kernel by install from 12.04.5 cd/dvd. NO if you need a 3.2.x with its 5year support you need to start with a archived 12.04.0 media. – humanityANDpeace Jan 20 '16 at 12:41
  • 1
    Absolutely, I've ensured that I only build new systems with the very first installer release for Precise Pangolin, the 14.04 installer. Then dist-upgrade from there, avoiding running out of kernel support every 6-9 months! – Arronical Jan 20 '16 at 13:08
  • @Arroincal you say Precise Pangolin? then you mean 12.04 sure? Anyway as you confirm, the benefit of the XX.XX.0 install media is that the kernel of the LTS endures 5 years and is not a somewhat fake 6-9 kernel support within LTS. – humanityANDpeace Jan 20 '16 at 13:20
  • Yes I meant Trusty, brain malfunction! – Arronical Jan 20 '16 at 13:21

Short answer: lsb_release -a , /etc/os-release, and /etc/lsb-release will tell you exact info.

Don't look at # deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS _Precise Pangolin_ - Release i386 (20120817.3)]/ precise main restricted because that refers to the media that you originally used to install the OS, which cointains packages for 12.04.1.

In fact , don't look at /etc/apt/sources.list at all. It can be butchered as you please , and contain sources from releases that are not even supported anymore, or versions newer than that. Example, my /etc/apt/sources.list has deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise main universe line even though I run trusty.

  • indeed what you say is true. Considering that the strace lsb_release -a showed that eventually it simply reads if available /etc/lsb-release and is for ubuntu not very much more than cat /etc/lsb-release without python overhead, only for non Ubuntu debian or more obscure cases it seems that lsb-release can provide a heuristic based on apt system. For debian /etc/debian_version is another source. indeed I recoment against using lsb-release when the data can directly be read from the text files. – humanityANDpeace Jan 21 '16 at 8:29

Ubuntu systems, and GNU/Linux systems in general, are more modular than monolithic. As a rule, you may pick-and-choose package versions as long as they are all built for the same distribution (in your case, "precise", or 12.04).

The point release is basically determined by the version of the base-files package that is installed. The point release number serves as a general indicator of how up-to-date your packages are, but it's impossible to summarize the entire state of your system in one number.

From time to time, as software updates get applied, your base-files package will get upgraded too, and hence the point release number that describes your system will get bumped up too. These version number bumps are not a big deal, and there isn't much you should do to prevent them. They merely indicate that a larger-than-usual batch of package updates has been pushed out by Canonical, and that they decided to publish revised DVD images for those checkpoints.

The line that you found in sources.list:

# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS _Precise Pangolin_ - Release i386 (20120817.3)]/ precise main restricted

… is irrelevant. First of all, the # character means that that line is commented out, and has no effect. Second, I assume that you also have some entries in your sources.list pointing to an HTTP repository. Those repositories on the network would carry packages that are more up-to-date than whatever was on your installation CD, so the package updater would prefer the newer packages.

So, you initially installed your system using the 12.04.1 CD/DVD. But all that is in the past. Regular package updates have brought you up to 12.04.5 now, as if you had installed your system using the 12.04.5 media.

To summarize:

  • You are running some version of 12.04. That won't change unless you make a deliberate effort to upgrade to the next release (e.g. 14.04).
  • More specifically, you can claim that your OS has been updated to 12.04.5, as indicated by lsb_release.
  • The differences between 12.04.1, 12.04.2, 12.04.3, etc. are pretty insignificant, and not something worth fussing over.
  • You can elect not to upgrade some of your packages to the latest available, and that's OK.

You can find out exactly which version Ubuntu version you are using by typing

cat /etc/issue

or with the command

lsb_release -a

as indicated by other answers (you need to install it first, as it doesn't come with Ubuntu by default)

  • great. with /etc/issue you found yet another file of the bases-file package that tells the version. Since redundancy is great for increasing maintenance efforts the info is also available via /etc/os-release and /etc/ls-release which are also in base-files – humanityANDpeace Jan 21 '16 at 8:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.